Alibaba to help Salesforce localize and sell in China

Salesforce, the 20-year-old leader in customer relationship management (CRM) tools, is making a foray into Asia by working with one of the country’s largest tech firms, Alibaba.

Alibaba will be the exclusive provider of Salesforce to enterprise customers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, and Salesforce will become the exclusive enterprise CRM software suite sold by Alibaba, the companies announced on Thursday.

The Chinese internet has for years been dominated by consumer-facing services such as Tencent’s WeChat messenger and Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace, but enterprise software is starting to garner strong interest from businesses and investors. Workflow automation startup Laiye, for example, recently closed a $35 million funding round led by Cathay Innovation, a growth-stage fund that believes “enterprise software is about to grow rapidly” in China.

The partners have something to gain from each other. Alibaba does not have a Salesforce equivalent serving the raft of small-and-medium businesses selling through its e-commerce marketplaces or using its cloud computing services, so the alliance with the American cloud behemoth will fill that gap.

On the other hand, Salesforce will gain sales avenues in China through Alibaba, whose cloud infrastructure and data platform will help the American firm “offer localized solutions and better serve its multinational customers,” said Ken Shen, vice president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, in a statement.

“More and more of our multinational customers are asking us to support them wherever they do business around the world. That’s why today Salesforce announced a strategic partnership with Alibaba,” said Salesforce in a statement.

Overall, only about 10% of Salesforce revenues in the three months ended April 30 originated from Asia, compared to 20% from Europe and 70% from the Americas.

Besides gaining client acquisition channels, the tie-up also enables Salesforce to store its China-based data at Alibaba Cloud. China requires all overseas companies to work with a domestic firm in processing and storing data sourced from Chinese users.

“The partnership ensures that customers of Salesforce that have operations in the Greater China area will have exclusive access to a locally-hosted version of Salesforce from Alibaba Cloud, who understands local business, culture and regulations,” an Alibaba spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Cloud has been an important growth vertical at Alibaba and nabbing a heavyweight ally will only strengthen its foothold as China’s biggest cloud service provider. Salesforce made some headway in Asia last December when it set up a $100 million fund to invest in Japanese enterprise startups and the latest partnership with Alibaba will see the San Francisco-based firm actually go after customers in Asia.

How the state runs business in China

Much of modern China’s epic growth was driven by private enterprise – but under Xi Jinping, the Communist party has returned to being the ultimate authority in business as well as politics. By Richard McGregor

When Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he extolled the importance of the state economy at every turn, while all around him watched as China’s high-speed economy was driven by private entrepreneurs. Since then, Xi has engineered an unmistakable shift in policy. At the time he took office, private firms were responsible for about 50% of all investment in China and about 75% of economic output. But as Nicholas Lardy, a US economist who has long studied the Chinese economy, concluded in a recent study, “Since 2012, private, market-driven growth has given way to a resurgence of the role of the state.”

From the Mao era onwards, Chinese state firms have always had a predominant role in the economy, and the Communist party has always maintained direct control over state firms. For more than a decade, the party has also tried to ensure it played a role inside private businesses. But in his first term in office, Xi has overseen a sea change in how the party approaches the economy, dramatically strengthening the party’s role in both government and private businesses.

Related: Inside China’s audacious global propaganda campaign

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Clark: Don’t Mourn May, She Was One Of Britain’s Worst-Ever PMs

Authored by Neil Clark,

It’s a crowded field but, by any objective standard, outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May must rate as one of the worst – if not the worst – occupants of the office of all time.

Spare us the Uriah Heep-style hypocrisy and gushing ‘tributes.’ The truth is an Op-Ed on the achievements of Theresa May would be the shortest one ever written.

Winston Churchill helped defeat the Nazis in World War Two. Clement Attlee gave Britain the NHS. Harold Wilson established the Open University. Ted Heath saved Rolls Royce. Gordon Brown gave over-60s and disabled people free nationwide bus travel. What did Theresa May give us except a Brexit impasse and the worst movements to Abba’s Dancing Queen ever seen?

May boasted about delivering “strong and stable” leadership but in reality she was as weak and wobbly as a plate of jelly.

Given the task of implementing the EU referendum vote of 2016, she gave the horse named ‘Brexit’ such a terrible ride that if she’d been a jockey she’d have been hauled before the stewards.

Of course every one was to blame for this debacle except Theresa herself.  But as Prime Minister, the buck stopped with her. She prevaricated and this prevarication emboldened the ‘Stop Brexit’ campaign.

In 2017, she needlessly called a general election, and fought the most unimpressive election campaign any sitting prime minister has ever fought. Mr Bean himself couldn’t have ballsed it up more.

May would in normal circumstances have gone the morning after she lost her party’s Parliamentary majority, but the Establishment’s fear of Jeremy Corbyn kept her hanging on for two more excruciating years.

On the foreign policy front May did her bit to stoke up Cold War 2.0 tensions with Russia and in April 2018 rushed to join in with Trump’s punishment bombing of Syria before chemical weapons experts could carry out a proper investigation into reports of an attack in Douma.

New revelations of a leaked but hitherto unpublished report cast doubt on but do not conclusively prove that it wasn’t Syrian government forces that carried out an attack, but May preferred to bomb first and wait for evidence later.

At home, she continued policies of austerity, which have caused great misery across the land. Drug trade-fuelled knife crime has spiralled horrifically following cuts to frontline police services – which began in 2010 when one Theresa May was Home Secretary. Hundreds of local libraries, the hallmark of a civilized society, have closed during May‘s period in power. In December 2018 it was reported that almost 130 of Britain’s public libraries had closed during the previous year.

Even under Thatcher it was never this bad.

Promises to the electorate were broken even before they were made. 

In 2017, the Tory Manifesto pledged to ‘maintain’ pensioner benefits “including free bus passes, eye tests, prescriptions and TV licences, for the duration of this Parliament”.

Yet a month before it was published, May’s government had already handed over the power to the BBC to take TV licences away from over-75s in 2020 – a full two years before the new Parliament’s expiry date. Last month, the BBC said they would be withdrawing free TV licenses for up to 3.7 million over-75s. May could have said ‘the government will step in to keep good our promise made to pensioners’ but she didn’t. Instead we just got a government minister saying the BBC ‘should do more to support older people.’  Meaningless waffle when instead action was needed.

May posed as a ‘moderate‘ – to contrast herself both from her own ‘right-wing’ and Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘left-wing extremism’ but there was, in truth, nothing moderate about her or her policies. Under her watch the gradual privatization of the NHS has continued. In March it was reported that the number waiting more than 18 weeks for operations had tripled in five years. Early this year, NHS chiefs asked May to reverse pro-privatization reforms.

In October 2018 May declared ‘austerity is over,’ but the situation on the ground was very different.

Just take a tour of Britain’s town and city centers and count the number of boarded-up retail outlets, to see the impact austerity has had. 

Theresa Mayhem inspired no-one but demoralized millions.

Britain is best rid of her.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Resigns After Weeks Of Protest

Following weeks of unrest amid a corruption scandal and damning text messages, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello announced his resignation on Wednesday in a videotaped address which aired just before Midnight. 

After discussing his “laundry list of accomplishments,” Rossello said he ‘did his best,’ and ‘worked during vacations, weekend and long days to make Puerto Rico more just.’ His resignation will take effect August 2nd. 

Rossello’s resignation comes days after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Old San Juan, calling for his ouster.

Following the announcement, crowds broke out into celebration, exclaiming “Ricky, te botamos!” (“Ricky, we threw you out!”). 

Demonstrators chant slogans as they wave Puerto Rican flags during ongoing protests calling for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello in San Juan, Puerto Rico July 24, 2019.Marco Bello / Reuters

“After the birth of my son, this is the happiest day of my life,” said Puerto Rican reggaton star René Pérez Joglar, also known as Residente. Joglar released a song last week calling for protesters to take to the streets, rapping “This is coming out early so you can eat it for breakfast … Sharpening the knives. Fury is the only political party that unites us.

As we noted last week, protesters broke past a barricade at the governor’s mansion on Wednesday, resulting in the deployment of tear gas. “By early hours Thursday, the old city of San Juan resembled a war zone, with police chasing protesters through the streets while firing rubber bullets, gas canisters and what appeared to be flash bombs,” according to NPR

Redesigning Your Tech Careers For The AI Era

Traditional mainstream information technology careers will likely not exist in the future. Some IT activities will get automated, some augmented, and others eliminated. Here I outline a simple approach to redesign your careers for the era of AI and automation.